Military Diet Day 3: The Final Frontier

When they get to the military diet day 3, the final barrier between dieting days and normal eating days, many people can’t seem to contain themselves. They’re either too anxious, hoping it will all pass as a smoke, or too self-confident, imagining how many more pounds they’ll continue to lose if they stick to this diet. Be aware as to not exaggerate and become either too strict with yourself, or too indulgent. Both cases can ruin your diet: the first by ignoring the benefits of intermittent fasting, and the second by unnecessarily upping your caloric intake.

If you don’t want to turn all your progress to dust, try being very objective and preparing yourself as best you can. Below are all the useful information you need to successfully finish your 3 day diet.

The menu

Breakfast – 265kcal

  • 5 Saltine Crackers – 70kcal
  • 1 Slice of Cheddar Cheese – 120kcal
  • 1 Small Apple – 75kcal

Lunch – 195kcal

  • 1 Hard Boiled Egg (or cooked however you like) – 75kcal
  • 1 Slice of Toast – 120kcal

Dinner – 650kcal

  • 1 Cup of Tuna – 300kcal
  • 1/2 Banana – 50kcal
  • 1 Cup of Vanilla Ice-cream – 300kcal

The military diet day 3’s menu has only 1110 kcal, most of which can be found at dinner, with almost 30% more calories than the other two meals combined.

Day 3 infographic

The point is that how you distribute the calories throughout the day doesn’t matter as much as how macronutrients are mixed. Chemical reactions aren’t dependent on what time it is, but on what substances you throw in together.

Consequently, breakfast brings you a combination between high-fiber, low-carb foods on the one hand, and high-fat, high-calcium foods on the other hand. The 5 saltine crackers are high in fibers and low in carbs. You will feel more satiated, because fibers are harder to digest by your body, which won’t be able to transform them into glycogen to burn, and therefore will burn from your fat deposits.

The same happens with the apple, which as a plus can quiet your appetite for sugar, while also providing you with Vitamin C. That particular vitamin, which is also found in the cheddar cheese, along with healthy fats, will help you burn fat, since calcium is involved in lipolysis and thermogenesis. As such, your low-caloric breakfast is all you need to feel satiated and increase your metabolism.

Breakfast day 3

Lunch brings you the same high-fiber, low-carb food in the form of a slice of toast. The egg you’ll be eating with it is rich in proteins, which are also harder to digest. Your body will then burn more energy just to digest your already low-caloric lunch. The combination between these types of food will also increase your energy levels, apart from making your metabolism work at a higher pace.

Lunch day 3

Dinner can be a bit tricky since the combination between tuna, banana and ice-cream doesn’t sound too enticing. But it’s not like you’ll have to put them all in a bowl and mix them together. You can eat the tuna first, and then the banana and ice-cream as a sort of dessert.

The science behind this shows us that high-protein foods (like tuna) accelerate fat-burning especially when combined with high-fat foods (such as ice-cream). The chemical reactions which occur between fats and proteins are catalyzed by the calcium found in your half of banana. Not to mention that you’ll also be treating yourself to some nice healthy sweets.

The substitutions

Military diet day 3 substitutions are pretty easy to grasp: just switch foods in the same food group, while also looking out for your calorie intake. Below, we provided you with some alternatives:

  • Apple: Zucchini, Peaches, Apricots, Grapes, Nectarine, Pears, Plums
  • Cheddar Cheese: Cottage Cheese, Soy Milk, Ricotta Cheese, Egg, Tofu
  • Saltine Cracker: Rice Cake, Plain Toast, Whole Grain Cereal
  • Hard Boiled Egg: Scrambled Egg, Chicken, Nuts, Seeds, Bacon (2 Slices)
  • Toast: Whole Grain Cereal, Rice Cake, Tortilla, Saltine Crackers
  • Tuna: Cottage Cheese, Chicken, Tofu, Pumpkin Seeds, Almonds, Other Fish
  • Banana: Apricots, Grapes, Kiwis
  • Ice Cream: Frozen Yogurt, Fruit Yogurt, Apple Sauce, Soy/ Almond Milk

Check out our must-read article on food substitutions in the military diet for more information.

The experiences

→ Jenna here didn’t have any complaints about the breakfast, probably because it’s the first meal of the day, her metabolism wasn’t up and running quite yet, and she didn’t need a lot of food to feel energized. She did seem to cheat a lot though, so much so that we can’t tell if we’re on the military diet day 3 anymore.

Even if the lunch was supposed to be one slice of toast and one cooked egg, she supplemented it with the can of tuna recommended for dinner. And as if that wasn’t enough, she threw in some condiments: mustard and relish. Speaking of condiments, see our guide on the healthiest condiments to use in the military diet.

What we’ve learned from Jenna:

  • Don’t cheat. If you’re cheating, you’re losing less weight.
  • Don’t add condiments to your meals. Not only do they have calories, but they also disrupt the whole chemical reactions which help your body burn fat instead of glycogen.
  • Don’t swap meal items. Food combinations are there for a purpose. If you’re eating too many proteins at a meal, those proteins won’t be able to later interact with the healthy fats from the subsequent meal and trigger the metabolism to run faster.
  • Plan your schedule. Don’t start the military diet if you know you’re leaving town or have something else planned, which can mess with your meals. It’s only a three day diet, it shouldn’t be that hard to make room for it.
  • Don’t lie to yourself. Jenna was adamant that it was too hard to find the required items for dinner, and that’s just bogus. Apart from the fact that the three day diet has only the cheapest, easiest items to find, it has few food items too. So how hard would it have been for her to pack all her meals in food containers before her trip?
  • Be careful with your substitutions. If you’re doing changes, count the calories and be careful to choose items from the same food group. Don’t trade fats and calcium for protein and fiber, it’s not the same thing and it won’t have the same effect.
  • Don’t trust yourself about portion sizes. Jenna said she was careful with her portions when having chicken grilled salad, which can make you wonder how many portions she did have. Nevertheless, you may think you’re being sensible about what you’re putting on your plate, but the truth is you’re not. Think of this salad; apart from the main food items (chicken and vegetables) it has: oil, cooking spray, mayonnaise, sour cream and salt. That’s adding a lot of calories with every bite, and the salt causes water retention.

To add more fuel to the fire, Jenna and her husband had to leave town, so she didn’t eat properly at dinner either. Somehow, she argues that she couldn’t find the necessary food items, which in fact are half a banana and one cup of ice-cream. She instead ate a grilled chicken salad, which is nowhere near what she should’ve done. However, Jenna seems quite pleased with this diet, which helped her get back on track with her weight-loss, her health habits and portion sizes. For questions on the right portion sizes for the military diet, see our article on this crucial topic.

→ Nicole was pretty happy about how her last day of this diet went, although, unlike the previous two days, she had to get back to work. That’s why she was a bit tempted, but controlled her impulses with flying colors, probably with the aid of the meal packages she prepared before going to work. Moreover, Nicole has incorporated a form of light cardio in her exercise routine, since she walked every morning.

Day 3 of the military diet found her busier, but also willing to kick it up a notch by taking a longer walk. Resisting the lures of other delicious foods made Nicole feel extremely proud, and she advises everyone to not sabotage themselves, since this diet doesn’t last for very long, and afterward people can eat whatever they like, in moderation. All that being said, she will continue to eat a restricted number of calories for the next four days, after which she’s starting round number two.

What we’ve learned from Nicole:

  • Start dieting on your days off. It’s always better to start a new diet when you’re free and can focus all of your energy on that. Not to mention that this particular diet is low in carbs and doesn’t allow sugar, which can put a strain on your body. Being suddenly deprived by its preferred energy source, glucose, your body has to work harder in order to burn fat instead of glycogen. That, along with the frequent hunger pangs, is bound to leave you feeling irritated and sleepy.
    Those emotions and physical sensations will pass, but it’s better to face them at first from your own safe space. Nicole had to get back to work on day 3 of her military diet, but she was already feelings better by then.
  • Resist temptations. That’s easier said than done, we know, but if you’re determined to lose weight fast, then you’ll have to focus on your goal. The military diet can help you lose more weight in three days’ time than any other low-calorie diet on the market, with the benefit of providing you all the necessary macronutrients and vitamins your body needs.
    If you’re cheating, you may still very well be under your required TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) for the day, but you’re sabotaging the scientific principles on which this diet is based. As such, you won’t burn as much fat, your metabolism will slow down and you’ll lose less weight than you were in fact able to.
  • Pack your meals. People do crazy things when they’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms, even if those are only caused by lack of certain foods they’re accustomed to. So the easiest way to make sure you don’t fail is to pre-plan all your meals, which will force you to eat only what you have. People tend to be very forgiving and indulgent with themselves, and Nicole knows all that. That’s how she managed to face a hard last day at work without cheating.
  • Exercise. Even a brief walk can do wonders for your diet, and Nicole has experienced first hand what exercise can offer. Her morning walks accelerated her metabolism and made her start every day with a feeling of happiness and accomplishment. Indeed, light cardio can also help you burn more calories, so that’s not an advantage to be ignored either.
  • Don’t give up. Don’t fantasize about the huge amounts of food you’re going to gorge on after this diet is over. You’re supposed to learn a thing or two about moderation and portion sizes, and think of it all as a lifestyle change. Otherwise, sooner or later you’ll end up in the same spot and you’ll start hating yourself for it. In point of fact, Nicole’s strategy of eating less for the following four days and then starting round two all over again strictly depends on her weight goals.
    However, learning the benefits of food restriction and healthy eating habits is highly recommended. Don’t act like a child who’s finally escaped a bitter medicine, but like an adult who understands why that medicine was necessary.

The verdict

Finish the military diet with your feet on the ground and your head off the clouds. Don’t let yourself be fooled by the pounds you’ve lost, they might just as easily come back if you don’t continue to eat healthily.

That doesn’t mean that you’ll never be allowed to eat a slice of pizza, drink a glass of wine or share a piece of birthday cake with your friends. It just means you’ll have to eat moderately, and understand that food is a means through which we sustain and nourish our bodies, not a goal in itself.

On the same note, some of you will lose more and others less: don’t be neither too dissatisfied, nor to happy about your progress. Try to remain objective and decide what’s best for your future. And remember: everyone is different.

Do read our guidelines on the military diet to understand it better.

About the author

Angie Moore

Angie Moore

Angie brings a mix of knowledge and experience in diet creation and fitness best practices. With Kansas State University‘s bachelor’s degree in dietetics and over 7 years of experience working with thousands of clients to better their life, Angie is passionate about your health and well-being. She is also a well-known foodie, having published a few books about diets that work. For most of the time, you can find her in the gym working out with friends and clients, pushing them for top results and fulfilled life.